Elif Shafak keynote speaker
Elif Shafak keynote speaker

Elif Shafak

Award-winning novelist and human rights campaigner

Speaker Themes

  • Democracy and freedom of speech
  • Women’s rights
  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • Creativity and politics

Travels from

London, UK


Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, and Three Daughters of Eve. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. She has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. 

Elif Shafak is a TED global speaker, a member of the Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). In 2010, Elif Shafak was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

Elif Shafak is also a political scientist and an academic. She holds a degree in International Relations, a masters’ degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a PhD in Political Science and Political Philosophy. She has taught at various universities in Turkey, the UK and the USA, including St Anne’s College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. 

For more information on booking Elif Shafak as a keynote speaker for your event, contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at leo@vbqspeakers.com.


Shafak is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech, Elif Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice a TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation.  

Shafak has been featured in and contributes to major newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica. She has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, MAN Asian Prize;  the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize. 

Elif Shafak has judged numerous prestigious literary prizes, including Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2013); Sunday Times Short Story Award (2014, 2015); Women of the Future Awards (2015); FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards (twice in 2015, 2016); Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (2016); Man Booker International Prize (2017) and The Goldsmiths Prize (2018). In 2019, Shafak is judging the Berggruen Culture and Philosophy Prize, and chairs the Wellcome Book Prize.

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